Sports Feb 27, 2015

By HARIDUT A.S. (B.E. Mechanical, 2011-2015)

Not many of us would have even heard of a sport named SepakTakraw, let alone knowing the rules of the game. Now, for those of you who have no idea what the game is, what better way to get an insight into the game, than hearing from the players themselves.
SepakTakraw, is a game that has its origin in South East Asian countries. It is otherwise popularly known as ‘kick volleyball’. You, almost certainly, must know what playing football and volleyball is like. SepakTakraw is what you would get if you try merging these two sports together.  What makes SepakTakraw such a delight to our eyes is the acrobatic nature of the game. Football and Volleyball produce jaw dropping moments but you will have to be patient to catch such moments. With SepakTakraw, you get such moments of brilliance every other point. You need not go too far to catch a glimpse of this sport, since PSG Tech is one of the few colleges in Tamil Nadu that can boast of having a SepakTakraw team.  When you pass by the grounds of the college, there is no way that the boys practicing this sport will escape your attention.
The sport has been played in PSG Tech since 2004, former Indian SepakTakraw team captain, Balaji Seetharaman (BE-ECE, 2002-06) introduced it. What stands out is, in these past 10 years, the college has produced players who have gone on to represent Tamil Nadu at the National level. Srikanth (BE-ECE, 2006-10), an alumnus of our college, had the honour of representing India in the Asian games, not once, but, twice. Thus, the college is one of the powerhouses of the game in Tamil Nadu.
“Positional play is more important in the game and the match cannot be single handedly won. Everyone in the team has to be technically strong to win a game”, says Hari Prasad (BE- Production, 2011-15), the captain of the current squad.  The game demands extreme concentration and any lapse will cost you dear. “The reaction time is very short and the players need more concentration to receive the ball. Your reflex must be of the highest quality to win you games”, adds the captain, stressing on the quick reflexes needed to succeed in the game.

The team, sweating it out under the lights.
The team, sweating it out under the lights.

For a game that displays tremendous acrobatics, fitness is one factor that cannot be compromised. The players must go through vigorous fitness drills so that they produce the best results. “Stretching is one of the main aspects of Takraw, where the flexibility needed for a player can be enhanced. A stretch of atleast 170 degrees in the legs is essential for a Tekong or Killer (attacking positions) in the team, so a full-fledged fitness drill is an absolute necessity” feels Sarma (BE- Robotics and Automation, 2011-15), the Vice Captain of the team.
The players often meet the ball at greater heights to gain more power to their smash kicks. They need to be fearless to face the ball travelling with the speed of 120 kmph. To strategize and think smart within such short time, tests the mental makeup of a player.
What makes SepakTakraw a viewer’s delight is the scissor kick and the bicycle kick that the players manage to pull off with elegance and ease. What goes on behind the scene to master these gravity defying kicks? “A ball tied to a post where it hangs over the players head at a height where the player can meet the ball with his foot when he stretches his leg at full above his head, it is a good lead up drill to practice the scissor kick and bicycle kick”.  A stationary ball is first kicked with legs smashed with great power initially to learn the smash and to get familiar with the action, it also develops accuracy” says Marudhu (BE- Production, 2011-15), the man who plays the Killer position in the team. ”Passion and love for the game is what drives us to practise and fine tune our skills for long hours daily.”
A player of the PSG team, about to execute a bicycle kick.
A player of the PSG team, about to execute a bicycle kick.

The team recently finished 3rd in the 9th interstate SepakTakraw tournament, courtesy, its dedication and hard work. PSG Tech will shortly play host to the 10th Interstate SepakTakraw tournament in the month of February. If you still have not witnessed this spectacular sport being played, waste no time in going to the ground to watch the Rattan ball flying over the nets at the blink of an eye.
haridutHARIDUT A.S. (B.E. Mechanical, 2011-2015) is a sports fanatic. He follows all the action from the world of tennis and cricket and plays tennis for the college team. He loves watching spiced up debates and is eager to be a part of one.
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